Confessions of a Young Novelist by Umberto Eco
(Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature)

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Synopsis

Umberto Eco published his first novel, The Name of the Rose, in 1980, when he was nearly fifty. In these “confessions,” the author, now in his late seventies, looks back on his long career as a theorist and his more recent work as a novelist, and explores their fruitful conjunction.

He begins by exploring the boundary between fiction and nonfiction—playfully, seriously, brilliantly roaming across this frontier. Good nonfiction, he believes, is crafted like a whodunnit, and a skilled novelist builds precisely detailed worlds through observation and research. Taking us on a tour of his own creative method, Eco recalls how he designed his fictional realms. He began with specific images, made choices of period, location, and voice, composed stories that would appeal to both sophisticated and popular readers. The blending of the real and the fictive extends to the inhabitants of such invented worlds. Why are we moved to tears by a character’s plight? In what sense do Anna Karenina, Gregor Samsa, and Leopold Bloom “exist”?

At once a medievalist, philosopher, and scholar of modern literature, Eco astonishes above all when he considers the pleasures of enumeration. He shows that the humble list, the potentially endless series, enables us to glimpse the infinite and approach the ineffable. This “young novelist” is a master who has wise things to impart about the art of fiction and the power of words.

 

About Umberto Eco

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Umberto Eco Professor Emeritus at the University of Bologna and is the author of many books, includingFoucault&s PendulumandSix Walks in the Fictional Woods.
 
Published April 25, 2011 by Harvard University Press. 240 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Confessions of a Young Novelist

The Guardian

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The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist: Understanding What Happens When We Write and Read Novels by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Nazim Dikbas Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop ...

Mar 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Confessions of a Young Noveli...

Publishers Weekly

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In this tongue-in-cheek-titled collection of four Richard Ellmann Lectures he gave at Harvard, semiologist, medievalist, and bestselling novelist Eco (The Name of the Rose)—hardly young anymore, as he and we know—confronts the question of what, exactly, creative writing is.

Jan 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Confessions of a Young Noveli...

Los Angeles Times

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Umberto Eco in New York in 2005.

Feb 19 2016 | Read Full Review of Confessions of a Young Noveli...

Los Angeles Times

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Umberto Eco wrote his first novel, "The Name of the Rose," in 1980.

Jun 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Confessions of a Young Noveli...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

The title of Confessions of a Young Novelist, Umberto Eco's new book, is characteristically sly.

May 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Confessions of a Young Noveli...

Bookmarks Magazine

In these “confessions,” the author, now in his late seventies, looks back on his long career as a theorist and his more recent work as a novelist, and explores their fruitful conjunction.He begins by exploring the boundary between fiction and nonfiction—playfully, seriously, brilliantly ro...

Mar 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Confessions of a Young Noveli...

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